This is Tim Harris's second of two books covering the Restoration of King Charles II and the Glorious Revolution that ended the reign of his brother James II.
Whilst the author states that each of these books can be read in isolation, I would recommend that they be read together in sequence since the first gives so much insight into the second. But if you are not familiar with the history of those times, I would further recommend first reading a more broad-brush history of the events (such as Edward Vallance's "The Glorious Revolution: 1688 - Britain's Fight for Liberty") to gain a better perspective of Harris's theses.
Theses is probably an appropriate word to describe Harris's books since they are academic works that break new ground, and differ in many ways from more customary histories. Most noticeably they do not focus on events: the Monmouth rebellion is dealt with in less than a page, and the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne are covered in probably fewer words. Yet what he writes about these and other events is all that needs to be said about them (though one might not appreciate their historic significance if one was not familiar with the stories surrounding them). Instead, Harris focuses on the way events were affected by the views of contemporary people - monarchs, ministers, MPs, churchmen, local officials and the general population, and how the lives of people were affected by then.
Both books are in fact compendiums of contemporary quotations from historical records, combined with Harris's own incisive interpretation of the views that are expressed and on the effects of such views on events. It's a vivid mosaic that gives the reader a genuine sense of appreciating and understanding the later-Stuart world as people experienced it. Indeed Harris's intended purpose in doing this is to demonstrate how public opinion rose in importance in steering the actions of the leading politicians of the day, and ultimately how it brought about the deposition (or resignation) of James II.
Not only is Harris's work unusual in its approach to the interpretation of history, but it is probably unique in describing the effects of Charles and James II's policies on the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland and how each country's response to events affected the policies of the others. Harris claims (no doubt correctly) that no detailed study had previously been conducted into the causes and effects of the Glorious Revolution on the Scottish kingdom, and yet it becomes clear from his narrative that events in Scotland had a profound effect on those in both England and Ireland.
Harris's work firmly justifies his conclusion that the Glorious Revolution was perhaps not so Glorious and it was certainly not the peaceful revolution that it is sometimes claimed to be, especially in the Scottish and Irish kingdoms where much bloodshed resulted. But Harris demonstrates that it was, in all its various outcomes, a much more profound revolution than the Cromwellian revolution in that it not only shaped the Britain of today, but many its effects are still with us and even now are only gradually being undone - for instance with the formation of an independent Scottish parliament, and discussions about ending the ban on Royal marriages to people of the Catholic faith.
Harris's two books combine to make probably the most interesting "history" that I have ever read. He is to be congratulated for completing what must have been a monumental task in researching and recording thousands of contemporary records, interpreting their meaning and putting them into a modern perspective, whilst consistently maintaining a pace and style that makes both his books compulsive reading.